“We are all subject to our verbal understanding of the way the world works, and that particular understanding may prevent us from having an experiential encounter which might change the way we think about things.”
I quote myself. That is how I intend to structure this elaboration of my intended meanings. We are stuck with what we are; constrained and liberated by our verbal languages. While we experience our living selves through the clear or filtered gateways of all of our senses we can only think about those experiences in our verbal language.
A personal experience presents itself as an example. While I have always enjoyed dancing, and as a young man would almost leap to the Misa Luba, I never anticipated going to watch a dance recital. The idea of watching people trained to move to music on a stage never appealed to me. However as often happens, values and preferences can collide with each other and this time a good friend wanted me to watch her dance in a recital. Friendship made the investment of an afternoon worthwhile even though I knew I risked falling asleep. Having made that determination, I went to see her perform. The visual experience transformed my understanding of what dance is intended to do. As I watched my friend and her colleagues on stage, I saw the music I was listening to, move.
I felt this experience as a profound gift provided by the ensemble via my ability to see and hear their ability to dance. I felt it as it was happening, but I understood what I was feeling only as I was able to shape that experience with words.
But wait, wasn’t it words, a simple presumption masquerading as self-knowledge, that up until then had deprived me of having that experience earlier? Or was the presumption a protection, sparing me from less gifted dancers who might have confirmed my reluctance by offering a less than perfect performance? Perhaps it was a question of my own readiness to see what what was being offered, an internal ripeness that was necessary for the experience to manifest as a gift rather than an intrusion. Or perhaps it was simply a meaningless coincidence of no significance. If such things exist. Because, after all, I do remember the experience.